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Our Top Picks
"Feels more like its own town than just a vacation resort."
Best Boutique: WaterColor Inn & Resort – See Rates at TripAdvisor
"Sports a boutique vibe, with just 60 well-appointed rooms designed by legendary architect David Rockwell."
"On-site you’ll find a pool with a lazy river, the 16 room spa, four restaurants, two cafés, two bars."
"Adjacent to the Shoppes of Paradise Key, putting plenty of entertainment within easy walking distance."
Best for Families: Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa – See Rates at TripAdvisor
"During the day, families can be found across the resort, from the white-sand beach to the two pools to the five restaurants."
Best for Romance: Henderson Park Inn – See Rates at TripAdvisor
"A luxurious beachfront hotel that’s a prime pick for couples looking for a getaway or taking their honeymoon."
Best for Nightlife: Emerald Grande at HarborWalk Village – See Rates at TripAdvisor
"Directly above HarborWalk Village, a major entertainment hub, where you’ll find a number of bars, restaurants, and shops."
Best for Business: Hyatt Place Sandestin at Grand Boulevard – See Rates at TripAdvisor
"When you’ve got some downtime, head to the heated outdoor pool, or grab a drink at the bar."
Best Motel: Beachside Inn – See Rates at TripAdvisor
"Perfect, whether you’re interested in old-school American road trip vibes or simply a cheap and convenient place to stay."
Best Overall: Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort
With grounds spanning 2,400 acres, there’s something for everyone at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, which feels more like its own town than just a vacation resort. Accommodation-wise, there’s quite a variety of options, from standard hotel rooms to massive multi-bedroom villas, spread out across four different “residential” areas: Beachside, Bayside, Lakeside, and the Village.
The resort is generally pretty updated, but given its massive size, there are some units that might be outliers—do your research before you book. As for activities, there’s pretty much everything you could ever desire in a vacation destination.
Beyond the seven miles of beach at the resort, there are four golf courses; more than 20 restaurants; a entertainment complex with shopping, dining, and nightlife in the Baytowne Wharf complex; all sorts of sports courts and fields; a spa; a fitness center with classes; meeting and event space, a kid-friendly adventure park with zip lines; a marina; mini-golf; and pools galore.
While a car is helpful to get around the complex, there’s also a tram system, plus bike rentals.
Best Boutique: WaterColor Inn & Resort
Though it’s set on 500 beachfront acres in the Destin-adjacent Santa Rosa Beach, the WaterColor Inn & Resort has a boutique vibe, with just 60 well-appointed rooms designed by legendary architect David Rockwell. Each offers plenty of space for guests—at least 500 square feet per room—and soothing decor in beachy hues.
While most rooms overlook the water, the ground-floor accommodations have dune views, though they do have the benefit of a private outdoor shower. Though you could easily spend your days holed up in your cozy room, you’ll likely want to explore the hotel’s activities, like golf courses; the kid-friendly Camp Watercolor with a lazy river, two zero-depth-entry pools, and a playground; three restaurants; tennis; kayak and stand-up paddleboard rentals; bicycle rentals; a spa and salon; and fitness center with personal trainers and group classes.
The WaterColor Inn belongs to a larger resort complex, which means guests have access to neighboring properties and their facilities, including additional restaurants and spas.
Best for Luxury: The Henderson - A Salamander Beach & Spa Resort
Even though Destin is more known for its budget-friendly accommodations than its luxury ones, there are still splurge-worthy options. We recommend the Henderson, a Salamander Beach & Spa Resort, which has 170 rooms and eight suites, including 16 spa rooms with claw-foot soaking tubs, premium bath products, and a location near a private elevator that goes directly to the spa (guests also receive spa and yoga credits).
The property is dog-friendly, too, allowing pets in certain garden-level accommodations. While the hotel isn’t located directly on the beach, it does offer its guests a private stretch of sand just a short walk away, with beach bikes and non-motorized water sports included in the resort fee.
And on-site you’ll find a pool with a lazy river, the aforementioned spa, four restaurants, two cafés, two bars. Have a craving for a midnight snack? There’s 24-hour room service. The Henderson also offers its guests a free shuttle to local destinations.
Best Budget: Best Western Sugar Sands Inn & Suites
Of the many budget-friendly hotels in Destin, we’re partial to the Best Westen Sugar Sands Inn & Suites. It’s located just half a mile from the beach—less than a 15-minute walk, or just a four-minute drive—and adjacent to the Shoppes of Paradise Key, which is home to plenty of shopping, dining, and even a movie theater, putting plenty of entertainment within easy walking distance.
Each of the 83 rooms was renovated in 2015, meaning the decor, though standard for a chain hotel, is pretty fresh. They all have microwaves and minifridges, too, so you should head to the Publix supermarket next door to stock up on snacks.
The hotel has a range of amenities given its moderate price: guests are offered a free hot breakfast every day and can access a heated pool and a hot tub, a 24-hour gym, a laundromat (for a fee), a business center. Parking—and Wi-Fi—is also free for guests.
Best for Families: Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa
Located just down the road from Destin proper, in the town of Miramar Beach, the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa is our top pick for a family resort, given its group-friendly accommodations to robust programming for kids (and its equally fun activities for adults). All guestrooms are designed to accommodate families—standard guestrooms all have sofa sleepers for additional bed space, and two different suite-category room types offer bunk beds for kids.
Decor across all rooms is modern and beachy with bright colors. During the day, families can be found across the resort, from the white-sand beach to the two pools to the five restaurants (plus a grab-and-go market and coffee shop).
There are the daytime Kids Krew program which offers activities from kite flying to slip-and-slides, plus the Kids Night Out program, which runs from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., entertaining the kids with stargazing or bonfires with s’mores while the parents have some alone time.
Speaking of the adults, there’s a 14,500-square-foot spa, a beach bar, golf, and free seasonal shuttle service to the nightlife at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort’s Baytowne Wharf complex.
Best for Romance: Henderson Park Inn
Not to be confused with its sister property, The Henderson, located down the street, the Henderson Park Inn is a luxurious beachfront hotel that’s a prime pick for couples looking for a getaway or taking their honeymoon. For starters, the property is the only adults-only one in Destin (the minimum guest age is 25 unless you’re married), which adds to the romantic atmosphere.
It’s also quite small in scale, with just 37 rooms and suites—they vary greatly, but the best for couples offer details like whirlpool tubs, balconies overlooking the gulf, and a fireplace. The hotel offers each of its guests a free hot breakfast buffet, free picnic lunches, and a free happy hour.
For dinner, there’s the on-site Beach Walk Café. Unlike many resorts in town, beach chairs and umbrellas are complimentary, but if guests want pool or spa access, they’ll have to head to the Henderson (just a few minutes’ walk).
Best for Nightlife: Emerald Grande at HarborWalk Village
If you’re interested in making your stay in Destin more about nightlife than about the beach, you’d do well to check out Emerald Grande at HarborWalk Village. It’s not directly on the sand—you’ll have to take a complimentary boat shuttle to the complex’s private beach nearby, where chairs and umbrellas are provided free of charge—but it is directly above HarborWalk Village, a major entertainment hub in Destin, where you’ll find a number of bars, restaurants, and shops.
The Emerald Grande isn’t a formal hotel, rather it comprises a number of vacation rentals that range in size from one to four bedrooms, each with a balcony, full kitchen, laundry, and access to the property’s full-service concierge.
There’s also a spa, indoor and outdoor pools, hot tubs, a gym, a business center, a restaurant (that also does room service from breakfast through dinner), and a gift shop. You can also hire a private chef to cook your meals in your room for you.
Best for Business: Hyatt Place Sandestin at Grand Boulevard
Opened at the end of 2018, the Hyatt Place Sandestin at Grand Boulevard is a new addition to the stretch of hotels along the highway 30A, and it’s an ideal place to stay if you’re in town on business. Hyatt Place as a brand is known for its accommodations with large sitting areas (and sofa beds)—it’s easy to get some work done in your room with the extra space.
Take note of the artwork throughout your room and the hotel, as many of the pieces are by local artists. Plus, the hotel’s easy access to 30A means it’s an easy drive to wherever your business meetings might take you. Of course, the entire trip doesn’t need to be about work.
When you’ve got some downtime, head to the heated outdoor pool, or grab a drink at the bar. There’s also a grab-and-go market open 24 hours a day (you’ve also got all-day access to the gym and the business center).
Best Motel: Beachside Inn
Whether you’re interested in old-school American road trip vibes or simply a cheap and convenient place to stay, Destin’s Beachside Inn might be the spot for you. The motel is located just across the street from the beach and offers 20 guest rooms with updated, boutique-style decor (no gross shag rugs and wood-panel walls here), plus kitchenettes with microwaves and minifridges.
A number of the rooms are pet-friendly, too, so you can bring the whole family with you. Unlike at many motels, there are actually two on-site restaurants: Camille’s Restaurant, which focuses on seafood and sushi for lunch and dinner, plus Camille’s Sidewalk Café, which does breakfast and lunch with outdoor seating.
There’s also a swimming pool surrounded by loungers. The inn is a short walk away from the Shoppes of Paradise Key, where you’ll find restaurants, shopping, a grocery store, and a movie theater; Henderson Beach State Park is nearby as well.